Council conclusions on Mali
Foreign Affairs Council
Brussels, 9 February 2015
- The EU is deeply concerned by the persisting violence in northern Mali, which is a threat to the security, stability, territorial integrity and development of the country and the wider Sahel region. The European Union calls on all parties in Mali to respect the cease-fire agreement of 23 May 2014 and the Declaration of Cessation of Hostilities of 24 July 2014. It is fundamental that all active armed groups on the ground refrain from any kind of violence.
- The substantive disagreement between Malian parties can only be settled by constructive dialogue in the context of the talks in Algiers, due to resume shortly. The Council urges all parties to use this unique opportunity for dialogue and reconciliation constructively, and show the necessary political will and flexibility during negotiations to reach an inclusive and durable political solution as swiftly as possible.
- As a co-mediator, the European Union, notably through its EUSR for the Sahel, remains committed to the Algiers process and is ready to assist parties in their efforts to reach and implement a lasting peace agreement. In the context of its comprehensive approach, the EU is committed to continue using its relevant instruments, including its CSDP Missions EUTM Mali and EUCAP Sahel Mali. It stands ready to facilitate the implementation of the future political agreement, through its active participation in the proposed monitoring Follow-up Committee, in close cooperation with the United Nations and the African Union.
- At the same time, efforts at local level should be reinforced, aiming at having an inclusive dialogue between all relevant stakeholders in Mali and making a start with the reconciliation process.
- The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), is essential for the security and stability of Mali. The Council reiterates its full support for MINUSMA in the implementation of its mandate and its efforts to protect civilians. It also supports the active engagement of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General -Mr. Mongi Hamdi- to reach and implement such a lasting peace agreement. The EU condemns the attacks that have been made on UN peacekeepers and civilians and urges all parties involved, to refrain from violence and respect their commitments for a peaceful resolution of their differences. Concerning the events of 27 January in Gao, which caused the killing of civilians, the EU welcomes the opening of an enquiry.
- The European Union remains committed to supporting Mali's path towards development, peace, reconciliation and stability. Integral to this is that progress is made by the Malian Government in terms of governance, democracy, rule of law, reform of the justice and security sectors and fight against impunity. Stabilisation efforts must aim at creating security for the population. Civilians, especially women and children, have to be protected. Resources available in the 11th European Development Fund, other EU instruments and Member States bilateral instruments will provide a significant contribution to the development of all the Malian territory, including the northern regions. The next follow-up conference of the donor round table "Ensemble pour le Renouveau du Mali"- organised in May 2013 by the EU, France and Mali - which will take place in Bamako on 17 February will be an opportunity for the international community to assess the results of the aid and assistance which has been pledged to help Mali, as a whole, to stabilise and recover. The best way to monitor progress after this last phase of the Brussels process will be further discussed by the international community along with the Malian authorities.
- The European Union emphasises that the situation in Mali is intrinsically linked to that of the wider Sahel region as a whole, and that a strengthened integrated regional approach to deal with the instability is essential, as reflected in its Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel, implemented amongst others through the efforts of the EUSR for the Sahel, in coordination with other international partners and through strong partnerships with regional partners, including through the implementation of their own Sahel strategies. In this context, the Council stresses the importance of tackling, including through coordinated international cooperation, the following priority areas: notably youth, border management, migration and mobility, preventing and countering radicalisation, fight against illicit trafficking and transnational organised crime. In this regard, it looks forward to the early finalisation of the EU Regional Action Plan for the Sahel.